Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pingu is here...

Tata-tatahhh! This is Pingu (a beloved claymation character of ours) Gus was surpringly fond of my completely home-made first attempt at a Halloween costume...

He is feeling good my little feisty penguin...ahh so much candy to be had...

Pingu and his parents (oddly enough, Thing One and Thing Two from Dr. Seuss)...heading out for the big candy gathering expedition...never mind it's pouring buckets outside...
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Halloween Afternoon

Using a brief pause on a rainy Halloween Day to dress Gus up in costume No. 1 - a busy bee...not so busy here...

Walking to town, and fighting the antenna-ed hood...

Chasing a remote-controlled car at the Halloween Fest and being the cutest busy bee of all...

...maybe not fast enough...but persistent...that's my boy...
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Hello Halloween

Granna & Pap are here for a visit, which makes the prospect of a soggy Halloween a lot brighter for all of us. Saturday morning, despite persistent rainshowers we headed out to at least attempt Pilot Mountain in Pisgha National Forest. We didn't get too far, but rain has never stopped Gus from having a good time.

Slip sliding up the hill with Granna...I'm proud of my little hiker...he is really getting the hang of it...and he loves being out in the forest...skipping, jumping and exploring with his mind, feet and hands...

Rain-slicked tree trunks are nature's answer to plastic playgrounds...
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Friday, October 30, 2009

Pumpkins a la Pumpkins

Jassim, Annaly & Gus let the creative juices (and some non-toxic, water-soluble, washable paint) flow...freely...

A work of art - all of it...30 minutes of creative chaos...

The three exhausted artists, ready for snacktime...
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Monday, October 26, 2009

Golden Days

My newest scheme to make Gus comfortable for No. 2 on the potty, it involves a TV tray, laptop and Pingu...so far, the No. 2 score goes as follows: Diapers: All, Potty: 0. He pees standing up like a champ and wears undies with pride, but he still waits patiently until I strap a diaper on him to go to a private place and do his big business...we have tried it all, books, rewards...now I'm on a new path...maybe he wants to forget he is sitting on the potty and doesn't want me near...we'll see...

Then we moved on to raking the beautiful yellow leaves of our honey maple and oak into neat piles by the road. Gus was enthralled with Daddy's smooth technique...

If Daddy does it, Gus will try his hardest to follow suit.
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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Creativity @ Play

In recent weeks, I've been a bit worried about Gus' brain development...and the guilt for the apparent lack of progess in aforesaid lobes is all mine. Let's just say that a couple of days of mild fever coincided with several weeks of pesky, daily rainshowers, have made me complacent about audiovisual entertainment...meaning Gus has acquired quite a taste for a particular kiddie show that we can - very conveniently - get on instant viewing on Netflix.

Gus loves Pingu. He speaks Pingu. He demands Pingu and he is mesmerized by this tiny, mischivious claymation penguin, going on the same two dozen adventures over and over again. Gus doesn't mind. "Pingu, again" he shouts impatiently from the laptop, set up next to me in the kitchen as I do laundry...and I comply, because...it's so easy...

But today, who knows if it's the stars or yesterday's wholesome dinner of black stewed beans, Gus turned a happy corner and proceeded to entertaining me with creative play...all morning long.

Case in point, a handful of marbles we got as a sales promotion in Migros, Switzerland's biggest grocery store and saved for a day just like this.

Take a long cardboard tube and let them roll through it at different angles...over and over again...endless fun...all while I leisurely sip my coffee...

Then, while I assembled a curry lentil stew, I heard some troubling noise from the bedroom, where due to an ongoing renovation of our closet space, most of our breakables, poisenous and otherwise hazardous possessions are piled high and vulnerable to to Gus' discerning eye. He zoomed in and decided on a purse full of my nailpolishes and nail grooming supplies...I do agree with him the little bottles of - troublingly similar -pink hues are very fetching and make for great little creatures to play with...

So far the little pink polish people have been for a ride in the tractor (which plays the ol' MacDonald tune ad naseum) taken part in a tumbling competition on the big bed, assisted Gus in giving Baby a manicure and neatly been lined up to witness the latest daring exploits of Chomper the backhoe (who also has a very annoying calling card of different jingles)...

Again, as always for most of the past two years, I try to muster up a worry - because that's what good mothers do right? - and again my little son, takes my worry and crushes it without much regard and discards it with a mild smile, before he moves on to topple the next milestone...I'm in awe...and all ears...as I hear some new troubling noises from the bedroom...
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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Harmonica Harmony?

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Do you ever feel like your life is too quiet? If so, please, consider this as my desperate plea to switch places... just kidding, of course, I'm very proud of my little buddying music virtuoso, who has been drumming on anything within reach, playing Daddy's banjo to destruction (poor thing has more sprung wires than intact ones) and most recently has really taken to his fancy double-Hohner Harmonica (muulorgele in Swiss-German), which I saved from his late Swiss great-grandpa's estate for just this purpose. Gus loves to play; Sometimes endlessly without ever changing tune, sometimes with wild tonal ladders falling all over each other...and he expects enthusiastic applause after each performance, regardless of how long or short...

This morning reading the newspaper - while, incidentially being serenaded - my eyes fell on a small anouncement about a harmonica class in town...do you think they're prepared to take on a 2-year-old Wunderkind?

I'm tempted...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bushels of Beauty

It's only our second year coming to Skytop Apple orchard near Hendersonville, but it already feels like an annual tradition. Last year we came a wee bit earlier and the picking was more plentyful, but this year we got the picture-perfect sun-dappled, indigo-hued autumn day that makes everything feel special and golden...

Rion worked the camera like a pro. Look out Anne Geddes (or however she spells her name) this is way cuter than cabbage leaves on a babe's head. Isn't he just adorable? I'm hard pressed not to battle Gus and stuff him into an apple basket...ahh the sweet days of babyhood...

Gus was a happy camper though this morning (thanks in no small part to the presence of the orchard's tractor) and volunteered to sit with Rion for a cute picture....then he topped the general adorableness of the shot with a sweet kiss, which Rion has become so used to, it doesn't even stop him anymore...he was so focused on his pursuit to eat this apple with all four teeth of his....

Here are two of Gus' favorites of today. Our dear friend (and freshly engaged), Lauren, and - drumroll - a big orange tractor...a beautiful fall day in Western North Carolina.
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Monday, October 19, 2009

Asheville Fall Fest

Despite a dreary week of rain and cold temperatures (or maybe because of) we spent Saturday morning at the Fall Festival at the snazzy, new Long Shoals development outside of Asheville. Condos atop and glitzy, yuppy stores below the entire neighborhood is nary a year old and trying to establish a tradition or two. Hence, a fall festival, full of free stuff (we love that). Gus and his friend Annaly (and her mother, incidentially, my friend, Joy) enjoyed face painting, inflatables, George story hour etc. all while trying to stay warm... can't say we were melt-down free, but for the most part everyone had fun.



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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Nut case

Finally! My reckless parents are seeing the light and the need for a helmet to protect that precious (and undeniably genius) brain of mine when I embark on one of my toddler stunts. Thanks Cousin Edward for the eight-ball hand-me-down. It feels reeel nice and fits perfectly. I've been wearing it ever since we got home from the post office.
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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fast Women

Brag alert: This is a great group of fast, strong women (and I mean FAST...some of these beautiful gals can run 7 min./miles). We have been training loyally together since summer and yesterday we finally got to prove our mettle and we represented Brevard well in the scenic area of Bethel, North Carolina, where we swept several age groups as we run hard for 13.1 miles.

Just for myself I bested my time from last year by almost 8 minutes to 1:49:15 (at a 8 something pace) something I couldn't have done with the constant encouragement and challenge of all of these running buddies. Keep going fast, Joy, Sara, Chanley and Lauren...you guys are an inspiration to me every step of the way and I can't think of a lonely boring mile I've had all summer long. I'm proud of all of you.
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Pay Date

Thursday we had a big play date (I'm saving for a new pair of shoes and the Mommas of two sweet boys pay us to play with them...it's a great deal for us). We left all the housework for another day and turned the house into one big playground...funny thing I discovered; you can take three boys, two years of age, 20 months, and almost 11 months, and they move like a single cell organism...one inches into the kitchen two more follow...one runs into the nursery...there is a regular stampede...I was amazed that little Rion kept up so well, but he wouldn't be left behind and they were all really sweet and sharing with each other...I just sit back and fight back the urge to pick up...

It may more look like a wrestling move, but it's actually a sweet hug between Gus and Jassim. Both are big huggers...

It's kind of like an assembly line as the toys move through some carefully calibrated pecking order...each has preferences and dislikes...Jassim likes musical toys, Rion likes toys that fit in his mouth, and Gus likes whatever lies beyond...

Can you see all the yoghurt crust on this little boys face? He is the best eater I know and he has my heart solidly just for that. With three basic hygiene is a challenge...I would just periodically jump up grab the nearest one and change a diaper and wipe a face...snack time was a food fight of the memorable kind....we had so much fun.
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Four Walls...

This used to be my favorite room in our house, in fact it sold the house to me in the first place...it's an old badly enclosed porch that we used as the family's walk-in closet. A room that could be all the things that I don't want the rest of the house to be, messy, haphazardly organized, clothes on the floor (Jacob's) and the catch-all for anything random that I couldn't yet bear to move to the basement. It's like a 2 by 8 foot rummage drawer.

Well not anymore. Jacob took all the shelves and hanging rods out of it (now our bedroom is messy and badly organized) and embarked on a home improvement project with the goal to make the room weatherized and possibly even heated space (we have been shivering putting on clothes out there in the wintertime) that in the future we can use as a home office or possibly down the road another nursery...

It'll be a nice addition to the rest of the house, but, of course, as it is with 110 year old houses, we found a couple of surprises as we destructed....wasp nests so well established we are on our third can of spray and Jacob is about to pull our bedroom window from it's sockets, no insulation anywhere (that constant draft in the winter might not be imaginary after all) and termite damage that is impressive in it's tell-tale lattice work.
We love this house.
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Building blocks...


Gus has discovered a new passion (aside from watching Pingu on Netflix). He loves building his Alphabet blocks up into impossibly high and fragile towers that teether stubornly to Momma's amazement but refuse to fall (that's done with a good head bump and accompanied by high-octave giggles). He can do this literally for hours and it's actually a pretty good spectacle for the non-involved too (now and then I get to hand him blocks, but I have to stay away from the actual tower, he can sense my urge to straighten it all out).
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